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I was arrested once.
cap, captain miss america

When I was twenty years old, while I was working on a student film, I was in a serious accident that nearly cost me the use of my right arm. Part of the upshot of this accident was that I had unintentionally trespassed on public property that was not well-marked as being off limits.

This was in the days before everyone had a cellphone. The friend I was with had luckily done EMT training and was able to do some preliminary care for me, get information like my blood type, etc, in case I passed out, before trying to flag down a car for help.

When the ambulance came, they were accompanied by a state trooper. The trooper was very kind to me, and assured me that he knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, and that he would testify to that end in court, but unfortunately, since I had technically committed a misdemeanor, I had to be arrested. He was as nice as humanly possible about it, and did the paperwork at the hospital, so that I didn’t have to go to the police station, but when I was twenty years old, I was arrested for accidentally trespassing on public property.

I think about this every single time I hear that George Zimmerman still has not been arrested for murdering a child.

You kill another person, you get arrested. If you’re innocent, or defending yourself, (neither of which I believe about Zimmerman) you prove that in court. That is what court is for. I went to court, I explained to the judge what had happened, the judge kind of laughed at me, asked how my arm was, made me promise not to sue the state, and dismissed the charges.

I unwittingly trespassed on public property, got severely injured, and was arrested.

The guy who sent a non-specific threatening email to the Sanford police chief, Bill Lee, has been arrested.

The guy who murdered an unarmed teenager has not been arrested.

This is hideously wrong.

I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now what to say about this. I’ve been saying a lot about it in person, but not a lot on the internet. Sometimes I don’t want to add more noise to drown out the signal, especially when I see white people co-opting the death of a young boy to further their own messages, and I don’t want to be part of that. I want to listen to what the people who are really being affected by this have to say. But I feel compelled to say something. In some ways I feel like waiting to say something until I could figure out what to say is problematic in itself, because we all need to speak out when horrors are committed. And I feel like a cad when horrible things are happening and I’m posting cute photos of myself going to movies.

Other people have spoken about this a bit, but I’m frustrated and angry when I see other white people pulling the “I am Trayvon Martin” thing, because it’s so dismissive of the real issue, which is that we’re not Trayvon Martin. None of us ever will be. We’re George Zimmerman. Even if we don’t go out and shoot kids for fun, when we allow the images in the media to perpetuate the idea that young black men are violent, when our own speech (I don’t want to talk about the conversation I had to have at lunch today) perpetuates an idea of black Americans as criminals, especially young black American men, we are accessories to murder. We are creating people like George Zimmerman. That’s on us. And it doesn’t matter if we have black friends, or black relatives, or black ancestors– that doesn’t absolve us. In fact, it’s worse when we do, and say nothing, because it’s our loved ones who are suffering and we’re not doing anything to ease that.

In the end, I think that’s why I keep thinking about the time I was arrested. Because I don’t have a right to compare myself to a kid whose life was in danger simply because he dared to buy some Skittles and go for a walk. I can compare myself to the man who took his life. The difference being that the only criminal act I’ve ever committed harmed no one but myself, and of the two of us, I’m the one who’s been arrested. I’m not trying to make this about me– It’s not. I’m using myself as an example because I know the details of the story, and I know what happened. I’m not angry that I was arrested. I get what I did wrong, and that that’s the way it’s supposed to go.I’m angry that apparently murdering a young boy isn’t as serious an offense as walking onto a bridge when the pedestrian walkway is closed, if the boy in question is black.

For those of you who thought this was a lone case of crazy, or who are trying to deal with people who claim that:
22 year old Rekia Boyd died on Thursday after being shot by an off-duty cop.
18 year old Ramarley Graham was murdered by a New York City cop in a “drug bust” (though they had no warrant to enter the home, and I’ve heard conflicting stories about whether there were any drugs present at all) just a couple of weeks before Trayvon Martin.

Love to all of you.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

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This post is wonderful.

Other people have spoken about this a bit, but I’m frustrated and angry when I see other white people pulling the “I am Trayvon Martin” thing, because it’s so dismissive of the real issue, which is that we’re not Trayvon Martin.

THANK YOU. Fellow white people: be a good ally. Support the cause without co-opting it.

I was very upset with the way OWS behaved the other night during the Million Hoodie March. It also bothers me when white people act like this could happen to them. I mean, sure, it could, but it is a lot less likely. White people don't get shot just because someone thinks they might have a weapon or they might look suspicious.

OWS pretty much took over the Million Hoodie March and started doing anti-capitalist chants.

Then they started acting aggressively toward the cops who had, up till that point, been working very well with the black organizers of the march. They turned over trash cans and started shouting at cops. Then when the cops started arresting, they tried to claim police brutality and that they were arresting due to racial prejudice, when the issue was entirely the aggression of the mostly-white OWS supporters and not the mostly-black Million Hoodie folks.

When I was 18, I spent a night in jail for reckless driving. It would have been 10 if I wasn't a cute white girl who had a lawyer and a mental illness.

That doesn't add anything to your argument, but I wanted to say that I agree with and adore you.

Yeah, I wanted to focus more on the being arrested for criminal behavior than the white people getting off easy because this poor kid didn't do anything wrong that he could have been arrested for in the first place. And I hate that a lot of people are acting like Trayvon Martin might have done something wrong or might have been acting suspicious when he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But you're absolutely right. If I had been a black young man when I trespassed? I suspect I would have been treated very differently.

I've never been arrested, but on the flipside of being George Zimmerman, I was once instructed after being the victim of a home break in while home alone to next time "buy a gun and shoot to kill." I was incredulous when the cops gave me that advice and instead told them that I would absolutely not be doing that. (This is an old story I tell a lot, so apologies for the thousandth time of recounting it)

I can't believe the "I am Trayvon Martin" thing. White people need to step off some times.

I think it's meant from a place of trying to sympathize, but sometimes we need to accept that no, we actually can't, because we will never be in that place.

I've never heard that story before, so all cool! I know there are some people who feel they should do that, but that would have made me feel very uncomfortable too.

*hugs* I hadn't heard this particular one yet, but it seems like every time I turn around someone in law enforcement is shooting a black kid. Hopefully since it wasn't actually a police officer this time, that will get him justice faster? (I googled, and Zimmerman should totally be awaiting trial right now.)

He has not even been arrested or charged with anything, and it has been exactly a month since Trayvon Martin was murdered. The City Commissioner had demanded Zimmerman's arrest multiple times, and the police chief refused to do anything about it. (The City Commissioner is black and has an 11 year old grandson. She approached this from a "I am frightened for my grandson that this man is out on the streets" perspective and STILL no one did anything about it).

The police chief finally "temporarily" stepped down, and he was replaced with one of the officers who conducted the original investigation and let Zimmerman go. So I'm not really confident about this.

Wow. The stuff I read said that the chief stepped down, but they didn't mention his replacement. I did see that Zimmerman had gone into hiding, and there was a suggestion that the county had taken over from the city police.

I guess the best thing would be for it to go to the FBI as a hate crime, but the local people will have to prove it is first, and that's not terribly likely to happen, I don't think. But it's the only way I can think of that he'd get more than a slap on the wrist... not that he's getting even that right now. :(

The thing is that I think the problem with a "hate crime" definition is that we need to stop thinking of racism as something that only happens when someone actively tries to harm people who do not look like them. (like Deryl Dedmon).

I think that Zimmerman committed a crime that was borne out of institutional racism and the perpetuated stereotype of black men as criminals. I do not think he was actively thinking that he was going after Trayvon Martin because Trayvon Martin was black. The fact that he made racist statements whilst doing it is reflective of the fact that he was, but I suspect he wasn't even aware that that was playing into his thought process. His brain was wired to see "black" and think "suspicious." He does not think of himself as a racist, and his friends and family do not think of him as a racist, because they think the only racism is deliberate and not the result of what is essentially a mass pathological issue on the part of white society. The thing about hate crime legislation in general is that it targets active and deliberate hate, not people who are unaware of how much they hate. The latter, though, is more dangerous because they think all the while that they are good people.

I agree.

But at the same time -- he also doesn't need to get away with this. And the only thing I can think to get it away from that institutionalized racism that says that this is okay is to put it in federal jurisdiction. Which I think requires either the hate crime designation or the state to voluntarily turn the case over to them?

I dunno. It just seems like there are no good solutions, only ones that just solve one aspect of the problem.

(Deleted comment)
Yeah, to me, that's the way things are supposed to work. You get arrested and charged. You don't get to go home after shooting a kid.

I think this post gets across the message of how insane the whole situation is very well

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